That's right folks, today is International Hug your cat day!
June 4th. Today would be a good day to give your cat an extra snuggle of thanks for all the health benefits of owning a cat.
The average pet owner lives longer than someone who doesn’t own a pet. Living with a cat reduces the stress hormone in your system. It lowers blood pressure and reduces cholesterol. Cuddling your kitty reduces your risk of heart disease. Cat owners have 40% less risk of a heart attack. Their risk of stroke is reduced by 30%. Heart patients had improved cardiac function after a visit from a therapy pet.
Pain relief is one health benefit of cat’s purring. Joint replacement patients use fewer pain medications if they receive pet therapy. Hugging your cat releases oxytocin and endorphins which are powerful pain relievers. A cat’s purr is therapeutic for joints and bones. Purring increases bone density and reduces the risk for osteoporosis. Broken bones heal faster in patients that own cats.
Exposure to pets strengthens a baby’s immune system. Children that grow up with pets have fewer allergies, eczema, and a lower risk of asthma. They have fewer ear infections and respiratory problems.
Children with autism are calmed by cats. They have positive social actions after interacting with their cats. They value the relationship with their kitties as much as typically developing children do. Petting cats increases empathy and feelings of affection.
Hugging your cat reduces stress and anxiety. Petting a cat for 15-30 minutes increases serotonin and lowers depression. A cat’s purring can have a similar effect to meditation. Cats can help the grieving recover from their loss. They serve as a social support and help them work through their feelings. 41% of people say they sleep better because of their cats, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Even watching cat videos on the internet can increase positive emotions. Taking care of keeping a cat safe and happy can offer a sense of purpose. Cats provide companionship and unconditional acceptance. A 2003 study compares having a relationship with a cat to having a romantic relationship. Cats do not deserve their reputation for being antisocial or opportunistic. They seem aware of their human’s moods and act in ways that help to relieve their anxiety, stress or depression.
Felines make excellent therapy pets for those suffering from PTSD, anxiety disorders, and depression. A cat’s cry elicits a similar human emotional response as a baby’s cry. Their kitty’s need for care and maintenance can give a depressed person a powerful reason to keep going. In a 2011 survey by Cats Protection, 87% of cat owners with mental health issues said their cats had a positive impact on their well-being. 76% said they coped better with daily life.
In addition to the physical health benefits of owning a cat, feline friends improve our social life.
Cats are a natural conversation starter. Women report an attraction to men that have cats, seeing them as sensitive and intelligent. Taking care of a pet can bring a family together. People who have a firm bond with their pets have stronger relationships and more connections in their community. Cat lovers are typically introverted, but they are likely to take on a leadership role in their social circles, be open-minded, and intelligent.
Having a feline friend reduces loneliness. Loneliness carries an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Cats can help the older population increase overall wellbeing. Although some rescue groups refuse adoptions to older people, matching a senior cat with a senior citizen can be a win for all.